Supreme Court to Decide if Title VII Protects LGBTQ Communities

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On Monday, April 22, 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear three cases regarding whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects the LGBTQ communities from discrimination based on sex.

The Act does not specifically mention sexual orientation, gender identity, or transgender status, but many appellate courts and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission have read the prohibition against “sex” as covering these groups of people. Other appellate courts have insisted that the prohibition does not apply to these groups.

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H.R. 6030 “Pay Equity for All Act of 2016” Introduced in the House

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On September 14, 2016, Eleanor Norton (D.C. Representative) introduced H.R. 6030 to the House of Representatives, and that bill was referred to the Committee on Education and the Workforce. The bill would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) by adding the following new Section 8:

Sec. 8. Requirements and prohibitions relating to wage, salary and benefit history

It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to—

(1) screen prospective employees based on their previous wages or salary histories,

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President Obama’s U.S. Supreme Court Nominee Shows Consistent Deference to Employment Agencies

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Today, President Obama nominated Merrick B. Garland as his choice to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the recent death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Chief Judge Garland was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by President Clinton in 1997 and became Chief Judge on February 12, 2013. He received wide, bipartisan support for his nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals. Seven of the Republican Senators who voted for his 1997 nomination still serve in the U.S.

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The EEOC Has Been Busy . . . .

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Just days before its proposed rule on changes to its EEO-1 form and reporting requirements, on January 21, 2016, the EEOC released proposed changes to its Retaliation Enforcement Guidance.  While this document does not carry the force or weight of regulations or statutes, it can guide a court’s reasoning.  This 76-page document purports to summarize the law of retaliation and provide its investigators with information to help them conduct and complete their investigations.

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Obama Administration Taking Actions to “Advance Equal Pay for all Workers”

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On the 7th anniversary of President Obama’s signing into law his first piece of legislation as President, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, he announced “several additional actions that his administration is taking to advance equal pay for all workers and further empower working families.”

The most interesting additional action would affect employers with 100 or more employees.  These companies would be required, on an annual basis, to report details of what they pay their employees categorized by race,

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House to Consider Federal Intern Protection Act of 2015 this Week

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On January 7, the House Majority Leader indicated that H.R. 3231, the “Federal Intern Protection Act of 2015,” may be considered in the House this week.  The resolution would extend protections against discrimination in the workplace based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability to interns and applicants for internship.  Interns are defined in the resolution as individuals who perform uncompensated voluntary service in an agency to earn credit awarded by an educational institution or to learn a trade or occupation.

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Idaho Human Rights Commission Statistics FY2015

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Today I attended a continuing legal education seminar for the Idaho State Bar Employment and Labor Law Section. Linda Goodman, Administrator/Director of the Idaho Human Rights Commission, was the presenter. I thought some of the statistics she presented were worth passing on.

During the Commission’s 2015 fiscal year, 443 new cases were filed, up from 435 in fiscal year 2014. Of the 443 new cases, 414 were employment related. The following table shows what categories of employment discrimination the cases alleged:

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EEOC Sues FedEx for Disability Discrimination

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In a press release, today, the EEOC announced that it has sued shipping giant FedEx for discriminating against deaf and hearing-impaired employees.  The charges accuse FedEx of:

  • Failing to provide needed accommodations such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and closed-captioned training videos during the mandatory initial tour of the facilities and new-hire orientation for deaf and hard-of-hearing applicants;
  • Failing to provide such accommodations during staff, performance, and safety meetings; and
  • Refusing to provide needed equipment substitutions and modifications for deaf and hard-of-hearing package handlers,

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Proposed Rule Prohibits Federal Contractor Discrimination Against Workers Who Discuss Their Pay

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Excerpted from the Department of Labor news release:

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs today announced a proposed rule that would prohibit federal contractors from maintaining pay secrecy policies. Under the terms of the proposal, federal contractors and subcontractors may not fire or otherwise discriminate against any employee or applicant for discussing, disclosing or inquiring about their compensation or that of another employee or applicant.

“Workers cannot solve a problem unless they are able to identify it.

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President Obama Signs Executive Order Prohibiting Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Discrimination

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Yesterday, July 21, 2014, President Obama signed an Executive Order which amends prior Executive Orders 11246 and 11478. The amendments expand discrimination protection for federal government employees and contractors, prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity. While this Order does not apply to private employers who don’t have qualifying federal contracts or subcontracts, it is similar to the several city ordinances in Idaho that offer protection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

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